These are painful times for our organization, and they are especially painful for members of the Black community and for our Club kids and families who have historically faced systemic injustice and oppression.

Every day, we are entrusted with caring for thousands of beautifully hopeful, loving children. They are remarkably resilient, and they come through our doors because they seek a place of safety, protection and joy. Our Clubs exist to help fortify them – emotionally, physically, academically. Our staff works to establish trust and to nurture the self-confidence that turns “I can’t” into “I can.” At the most fundamental level, our message to our Club kids is: “You belong.”

But do they? The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people before them are appalling to everyone. We acknowledge this is unsettling in deeply personal ways for the kids, families and communities of color we serve. These tragic events stir the emotions that mark ongoing trauma – fear, anger, doubt; do we belong?

Now more than ever, more vocally than ever, our answer must be yes. We often refer to our Club members as “our kids,” and we mean it. We are a unified family, and our family stands together in uncompromising opposition to any form of racism, discrimination, hatred, inequality or injustice. We believe Black Lives Matter.

That means there is a great deal of work ahead of us. Individually and collectively, we must rededicate ourselves to listening, reflecting, learning, acting and leading. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver is fortunately well positioned to do all of those things, because we have already committed ourselves to the vision our kids helped us craft: that all kids will have the opportunity to achieve their greatest potential.

Today, we reaffirm our commitment to this timeless vision. And we commit ourselves to the work of advancing racial equity and justice across our organization and our community.